The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

She’s Ready for Her Close-Up, Mr. DeMille

Posted on | July 7, 2022 | Comments Off on She’s Ready for Her Close-Up, Mr. DeMille

You may not recognize that teenager from New Mexico who, in 1981, posed for Oui magazine, and she hadn’t crossed my mind in many years until I saw this headline today:

Demi Moore, 59, poses in swimsuits
as she hopes to change ‘this idea that
we become less desirable as we get older’

Well, you’ve posed in a lot less than that, Demi, but I suppose most would still prefer the 1981 version, given the choice. Of course, there has been some change in fashion in the past 40 years and — how shall I say this? — the topiary might require substantial trimming to suit 21st-century tastes, but I’m sure a plebiscite would still return a landslide majority in favor of 18-year-old Demi, despite the excessive shrubbery.

Her career and love life have been equally disappointing, a failure to make the most of her many opportunities. Demi Guynes took as her show business surname that of her first husband, a recently divorced rock musician 12 years her senior whom she married not long after arriving in Hollywood as a teenager. She filed for divorce from Freddy Moore in 1984, after she had landed two seasons on the soap opera General Hospital and her earliest film roles. One of those film parts was in the unspeakably wretched Blame It On Rio, the plot of which would be enough to end the career of anyone who dared produce such a film nowadays. A few years ago I happened to see it while surfing cable and, well, if the adjective “cringeworthy” had not previously been coined, Blame It On Rio would be sufficient inspiration.

Michelle Johnson, just 18 when Blame It On Rio was filmed, was quite lovely, but as the love interest of Michael Caine, then age 50? Even by the depraved standards of Hollywood, this was unusually perverse. Frankly, I’d forgotten that Demi Moore was part of the cast until that headline about her posing in a swimsuit at age 59 sparked my research. Someone should ask how her opinion about “this idea that we become less desirable as we get older” might be contextualized by reference to the creepy plot of Blame It On Rio. But I digress . . .

Demi next starred in St. Elmo’s Fire, arguably the most ambitious of the so-called “brat pack” movies of the 1980s. While I’ve forgotten the plot of St. Elmo’s Fire, I recall the wonderful cinematography, where the scenes always seemed to be filmed in “the golden hour” with Washington, D.C., as the backdrop. She followed that with the popular romantic comedy About Last Night and, at age 24, was well on her way to success as a leading lady. A year later, she married Bruce Willis, and the couple had three daughters together, during a period when both of their careers were peaking, he with Die Hard and its sequels, she with Ghost and A Few Good Men. But while Bruce’s career continued to yield hits (Armageddon in 1998, The Sixth Sense in 1999), things weren’t so good for Demi. G.I. Jane was awful and a total bomb at the box office, from which she never really recovered. She has kept working steadily, but she ceased to be a marquee name. And what’s with the swimsuit photos as an argument against being “less desirable” at 59? Desirable to whom?

Oh, yeah — she divorced Bruce Willis (or he divorced her) and then “Moore had a three-year relationship with martial arts instructor Oliver Whitcomb” and subsequently “began dating actor Ashton Kutcher, who is 15 years her junior.” Did that relationship ever make any sense at all? It lasted about eight years, the divorce being finalized in 2013, when Demi was 51 and Kutcher was 36. Now he’s married to Mila Kunis with two kids, while his elderly ex-wife Demi is posing in swimsuits to prove she’s still “desirable.” Never made sense to me why she split with Bruce Willis, but I suppose when people burn bridges like that, they have fond hopes of a better road ahead. Demi was in her mid-30s when she divorced Bruce, and her trajectory to that point had been entirely upward, so the possibility of a “less desirable” future was beyond her imagination.

A 21st-century Norma Desmond. So sad . . .



Comments are closed.